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The Importance of ‘Soft Skills’ with Speaker and Trainer Si Beales

4th Jun 2024
Soft skills speaker workshops trainer mentor Si Beales book at agent Great British Speakers

Trainer speaker Si Beales is an award-winning speaker, educator, academic, writer, and entrepreneur who emphasises soft skills as a key focus on business success.

He has worked with thousands of businesses and individuals around the world to demystify, empower, and embed soft skills. Clients include Adidas, Boots, the Law Society, Levi’s, and Sky.

Si Beales Soft Skills Speaker trainer workshops at agent Great British Speakers
Si Beales Soft skills speaker at Great British Speakers

Si focuses on communicating simple, memorable habits that empower lifelong learning. He regularly speaks at conferences such as Innovate UK and the Digital Summit and at academic institutions such as Nottingham Business School. He is also a prolific writer, appearing in The Guardian, The Times, and Vogue.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are general traits that aren’t tied to any specific job but are crucial for excelling in any workplace. Also known as transferable or interpersonal skills, they are vital for professional success. Unlike hard skills, which involve specific knowledge and abilities for a particular role, soft skills are harder to acquire because they are more inherent.

Is it time to go hard on soft skills?

There is growing evidence that connected soft skills are key to business success, particularly in the age of AI. Many employers value them over hard skills. In fact, Forbes says they are “essential to the future of work.”

So, how can we integrate them into our lives?

This is where soft skills speaker Si Beales comes in.

Like many others, Si had a mixed experience with education. He loved subjects such as English and Humanities and struggled with Maths and Physics. He had impactful teachers who ignited his lifelong interest in politics and current affairs, but he struggled to remember much of what he was taught. The same is true with his University studies, as he is unable to recall any specific thing he learned.

“This seems odd to me. I’ve spent approximately 15,000 hours in education, and will spend approximately 90,000 in work, and yet I struggle to pinpoint any key learnings”.

Through his education platform, Future Skills Club, Si has been researching the impact of education on several younger people (aged 15-30). He has discovered that whilst they had teachers who loved their subjects, they felt that many of those 15,000 hours had been wasted. Even those who had been successful felt the system was flawed and had actively put them off further learning.

Unsurprisingly, this is a problem. Active Learning is one of the World Economic Forum’s top ten future skills and is fundamental to business success. So why can’t we remember what we have learnt? Are we learning in the wrong ways? Are we learning the wrong things?  

Si Beales believes that we focus on hard skills too much and too early without making them relevant to everyday life. He believes that we need to prioritise soft skills. He believes that if we focus on developing lifelong habits, the learning will stay with us.

What are soft skills from leading soft skills speaker Si?

The terms “hard skills” and “soft skills” were originally coined by the US Military, comparing hard skill to driving a tank, and soft skills to motivating your troops.

As an academic, Si has developed the 7Cs model, a habit-based model which focuses on the following soft skills:

Si Beales soft skills speaker think outside the box at agent Great British Speakers

Creativity: How to have better ideas and be more innovative

Character: How to be positive, resilient, and rigorous

Curiosity: How to find inspiration and insights

Critical Thinking: How to question and challenge

Collaboration: How to successfully work with others

Communication: How to persuade and influence

Complex Problem Solving: How to combine these skills to develop impactful, meaningful solutions

Si Beales soft skills speaker book at agent Great British Speakers

How can this help me?

Throughout his work, soft skills speaker Si has found that a simple, habit-based model often helps us remember and apply what we’ve learnt.

“I was delighted when one of my former students contacted me to say that she had suddenly remembered C for Collaboration, when struggling in an interview. She got the job, and I couldn’t have been happier”.

Soft skills speaker Si Beales also believes we must start putting all our efforts into making learning happy. Many of our current system’s offering are boring, irrelevant, outdated, and sometimes damaging to our mental health.

Our capacity to learn sets us apart from other species, makes us human, creates the world we live in today, and solves the problems we face. But if we continue to learn in a negative and pointless way, we won’t engage with it, and we will stop moving forward.

We must take the fear and pain out of learning and make it happy, fulfilling, and relevant.

Does having a SoftSkills speaker work?

There is proof from around the world that this type of learning works!

In the UK, less than 5% of people will carry on with lifelong learning after leaving formal education. Whereas in Scandinavian countries, it is 45%. And in Estonia, they have transformed their education system in just 10 years. And what have we done in 10 years? Had 10 different Education Ministers.

The Estonians have succeeded by focusing on soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration by investing in teaching and technology. They now frequently top the education tables and spend far less money per students. And more importantly, their students are happier and better equipped for the modern world.

So, what do we do now?

Perhaps it’s time to start a conversation around how we focus our efforts on teaching and promoting soft skills, whilst retaining those hard skills that are relevant and useful.

We need to focus on useful habits and enjoyable learning.

And then perhaps, we can all begin to learn more successfully and happily, and to remember and apply what we have learnt.

Perhaps we all need to go hard on soft skills.

“You know what they say, sometimes it pays to talk softly but carry a big stick”.

For more information about Soft Skills speaker Si Beales, take a look at his bio HERE, or get in contact with Great British Speakers at +44 1753 439 289, or via email.

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